Aro Metal Stamping Company Inc. President Erica Wiegel knows more than a little bit about the manufacturing industry and what it takes to operate a successful business. She spent many hours as a young girl helping out in her father’s company, Wiegel Tool Works, sorting parts.
Wiegel grew up in her father’s company, working in various roles including quality assurance, prototype department, engineering and eventually the front office as a manager. Thanks to the experience she and her brothers had growing up in the industry, Wiegel Tool Works has become a “showpiece” company known for its advanced technology, according to Wiegel.
Despite the company’s success, Wiegel says she felt there were still opportunities for a challenge out there in the industry, and some years ago she began looking for merger and/or acquisition opportunities. What she found had been right under her nose the entire time in the form of Aro Metal Stamping, which had a relationship with Wiegel Tool Works for more than 20 years. The company’s owner at the time was planning to retire but didn’t have a succession plan in place, and Wiegel says she saw a lot of similarity between her family’s company and the small-but-healthy Aro Metal Stamping.
With its potential for growth and strong family atmosphere, Aro Metal Stamping represented the perfect opportunity for Wiegel to leave her mark on another manufacturer, and so she purchased the company in July. “It was a perfect fit for me,” she says.
Aro Metal Stamping has been a consistent presence in the industry since 1959, producing turnkey metal stampings and assemblies for a wide variety of customers. The company’s products reach customers in markets such as refrigeration, automotive aftermarket components, structural building products, electrical equipment and plastic molding. Although the competition the company faces can be intense, Wiegel says the capabilities Aro Metal Stamping has in place, combined with her expertise in the industry, give it a strong base.
Providing turnkey metal stamping and assemblies such as heatsinks, shields, covers, clips and brackets for such a broad customer base means Aro Metal Stamping needs to have a strong technical edge if it is to have any hope of competing in the marketplace, and fortunately this is exactly what it has.
At its recently built 40,000-square-foot facility in Roselle, Ill., Aro Metal Stamping boasts such features as a fully equipped tool room, a quality control laboratory and a press room that operates 30 punch presses ranging from 15 to 330 tons.
In addition to the standard capabilities the company has, Aro Metal Stamping also offers its customers unique capabilities not found in many of its competitors’ facilities. For example, the company says it has developed technology that allows it to stamp and attach a ground material to a heatsink in a progressive die without any additional steps. The company also specializes in inline tapping of high-volume, low-cost terminals thanks to technology that allows it to thread holes in a strip before feeding it into a progressive die.
Although the company already provides its customers with high-quality and extremely valuable services, Wiegel says Aro Metal Stamping will benefit from the knowledge and expertise she brings to the company. “The competition is real and it’s out there, but I think with my tooling background and knowledge I’m going to shake up a few people in the industry,” she says.
Aro Metal Stamping’s close-knit family atmosphere has been a major part of what has made the company successful over the years, and Wiegel says she wanted to do whatever she could to maintain that. “When I came onboard, I kept every single employee,” she says, adding that she took all of the company’s employees on a trip to visit Wiegel Tool Works’ facility to show them what her family was all about.
Maintaining close connections to customers has been another factor in Aro Metal Stamping’s success, and Wiegel says she has been hard at work making sure she meets all of its customers. Many of those customers had to downsize during the recession, so having a turnkey partner such as Aro Metal Stamping is essential, and the company has provided project management for them. “I’m hitting the floor, I’m becoming a salesperson,” Wiegel says.
Wiegel says she sees a bright future for Aro Metal Stamping under her leadership, because the strengths of the company are just as strong as they have always been and getting stronger. The company’s one-stop-shop nature puts it far in front of many of its competitors because of the time and investment required to build a company into what Aro Metal Stamping is, and that puts it at a substantial advantage.
“We’re an up-and-coming, fast-growing company,” Wiegel says.